Describing the Game Studies Canon: A Game Citation Analysis

Frome Jonathan Martin Paul
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

This article analyzes how game studies scholars cite videogames in their research. A content analysis of over 580 articles from the field’s two main journals is used to identify the currently-invisible canon of most-frequently cited games in game scholarship. We show that the canon is far more varied than previously suggested and demonstrate ways that it has changed over time. The article's research implications include explicating different functions of game citation as well as providing an empirical basis for identifying under-researched games. Our findings also identify the games with which familiarity is most important to understand existing research. Finally, we propose ways the game studies canon can help address pedagogical, technological, and legal obstacles to the development of game studies as a discipline.


Realism and the everyday in digital games

Martin Paul
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Abstract Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This paper develops Alexander Galloway’s (2006) theory of social realism in games, arguing that a focus on the relationship between mode of representation, the everyday and the social totality (Lukács, 2001/1938) unpack the critical potential of realism in digital games.


Meaningful Movement: The Labyrinth and ‘Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’ [Extended Abstract]

Martin Paul
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

This paper presents the castle in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as a structure that sets out a pattern of movement for the player-character that is similar to that experienced by the treader of a classical labyrinth. Specifically, this pattern is one of turning back on oneself and it always derives its meaning from the context in which it is performed. For example, the meaning of Theseus stalking the Cretan labyrinth in search of the Minotaur is different from the meaning of the Troia performed at the funeral games of Anchises in the Aeneid or of the dance of a medieval English turf maze treader. This is in spite of the fact that the actual pattern of movement is largely the same in all three cases. I argue here that the transfer of this pattern of movement to Symphony of the Night transforms its meaning once again. Couched in a conventional horror narrative that leans heavily on pop-Freudian motifs, the movement of the main character, the half-vampire Alucard, emerges as a text that writes his ambivalence in spatial terms. The architecture of game space, then, is understood as notes for a performance which derives its meaning in relation to some pre-scripted elements.